Bernie, our best friend for nearly 12 years, went peacefully at our vet’s office. Bernie was a pure-bred Labrador retriever–the most loyal friend I’ve ever had over the last 43 years. Lilly (the little girl dog laying next to Bernie on his bed) is a rescue from Puerto Rico. She’s 1-1/2 years old we gather. The interesting thing was that the photo of our two loveable friends was taken the morning we took Bernie to be put to sleep–Bernie never allowed Lilly to lay next to him on his bed. He was the King, and that was his spot, not hers. My wife and I swear that Lilly knew exactly what was happening to Bernie–that he was sick with cancer, that his time was limited and that we were having immense trouble with what we were about to do. The three days leading up to Bernie’s last were bitter sweet. We spent as much quality time with him trying to keep him as comfortable as possible–we even went for a ride around town to pay a visit to my mother-in-law who by rights was his mommy whenever our family went out of town. Like a friend said to us for comforting us in our final decision: When you put a pet to sleep, you’re giving them the best gift that they themselves can not give to themselves. Bernie, you are the best pal a family ever could have wished for. Thank you for everything you’ve given us. Here’s to you enjoying yourself in heaven with Big Joe throwing you unlimited tennis balls and running with your old buddy Angus, We love you Bern, now and forever more. See you on the other side my love.

— Nino from Poughkeepsie, NY